US, China Talks Seen Offering Small-scale Market Access Deals


China's top economic official said on Wednesday at the start of economic talks with the Trump administration it was important that Beijing and Washington work together to resolve their differences and cautioned that confrontation would only be damaging to both sides.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the talks with the Chinese delegation, led by Vice-Premier Wang Yang, would focus on concrete steps to provide greater access and a "level playing field" for U.S. companies to the world's second-largest market.

China's maturing economy needs to further open markets to American investors and exporters so they can compete on equal footing, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said. These include the sale of US beef in China for the first time in 14 years and commitments to open up narrow areas of China's financial services sector, such as credit card services and credit ratings agencies.

Ross spoke at the gathering along with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, a day before the U.S. "China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue", will formally take place on Wednesday.

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The talks are part of a 100-day plan announced in April, following Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago. But only 4 percent of China's IC imports came from the US.

He noted that cooperation between China and the US not only benefits businesses and peoples of the two countries but the world as a whole. Mnuchin on Tuesday said the US wants to use the discussions to push China on lifting foreign ownership restrictions on the financial services industry and remove hurdles for information and technology sectors. "This is a result of the greater opening of China's financial sector", Wang said. "We still have work to do with China to achieve a balanced relationship" based on reciprocity.

"China has in recent years revised at its own initiative the Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries several times, leaving only 63 industries under restriction, 117 fewer than that of the 2011 version, down by an impressive 65 percent", he said.

China, which Trump has criticized for cheating on steel prices, ranked 11th a year ago, and trade experts say it is a likely target.

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The CED is "different only in how it is packed", as every USA president likes to put his own stamp on how these dialogues are carried out, Anka Lee, senior director at Albright Stonebridge Group, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

USA business executives have long expressed frustration with China on a wide swath of issues: intellectual property theft, a ballooning trade deficit, and hefty government subsidies that benefit Chinese companies.

Wang is scheduled to co-chair the first China-U.S.

"We must create more balance in our trade by increasing exports of made-in-America goods to China", Ross said at the Treasury Department.

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